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Criminal Defense

Knowledgeable New Hampshire attorneys can help clear your name

Being accused of a crime can be frightening. It is intimidating to be taken to jail, booked, and go through the trial process in our criminal justice system. Too often, innocent people are awaiting trail or hearings in crowded jail cells that they should not have been put into in the first place.

Fortunately, you have the right to have a New Hampshire criminal defense lawyer represent you if you have been arrested for any crime. Exercise your rights. Contact attorney John E. Durkin and the legal team at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A.

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Having an attorney by your side when you have been accused of a crime can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of your case. No matter what you have been charged with or accused of, we are here to help you. Contact us today for help with any of the following:

Criminal defense cases in New Hampshire

Criminal charges in the state of New Hampshire can have serious consequences. From fines and probation to community service or even jail time, without proper legal representation from an experienced New Hampshire criminal defense lawyer, the wrong decision during the investigation or prosecution of your case could result in very dire consequences.

If you are under any type of criminal investigation, you need to seek immediate legal assistance from us. We can help you in a number of ways, including:

  • Advising you on what questions to answer when speaking with law enforcement and your right to remain silent.
  • Ensuring your constitutional rights are upheld, such as the right to be free from unlawful search and seizure.
  • Helping you negotiate a plea bargain.
  • Explaining all the options available to you for the best possible legal course of action.
  • Assisting you in exploring options for possible deferred sentencing or other alternatives to avoid a permanent criminal record.

In addition, we provide information on other topics relating to criminal defense:

We can help

No matter what court is hearing your case, you need the help of an experienced attorney dedicated to your cause. Contact Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A. for the representation you need and deserve. Our lawyers are familiar with how the court system works and know what it takes to get you justice. No matter what happened, we're here for you.

Habitual Offenders

At Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A., we care about clearing your good name. In New Hampshire, the consequences for conviction of a crime can be worse if it is a recurring event or accusation of violating the same or similar laws. For example, drug and alcohol crimes carry harsher sentences for habitual offenders. People who have a standing prior shoplifting conviction may be subject to a more severe penalty than a first-time offender. If you have been convinced of a crime such as shoplifting or a drug or alcohol related crime, don't delay. Contact our criminal defense lawyers today.

What are the penalties?

As early as your second offense, you may be considered a habitual offender by the state, even if you believe you had your previous record sealed. Since law enforcement still has access to these records for the purpose of determining penalties for subsequent convictions, your previous conviction still matters. For example, if you were involved in a DUI and the charges were reduced to reckless driving, you may still be considered a habitual offender based on your first DUI record.

Potential consequences of being a habitual offender include:

  • Longer jail sentences for a DUI or related charge
  • Heftier fines
  • Longer suspension period for a driver's license
  • Possibly an ignition interlock device installed into your car. It will prevent you from starting the car until you test your blood alcohol level tested by blowing into it.

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Circuit Courts

In the state of New Hampshire, different courts handle different types of cases. When a court has the power to hear a particular sort of case, this is called "jurisdiction." In New Hampshire, jurisdiction is granted to district courts over the following matters:

  • Violations or misdemeanors
  • Small claims
  • Landlord-tenant disputes
  • Stalking
  • Civil cases

The circuit court, due to a merger of district, probate and family courts, has jurisdiction over all of these cases. This makes it a court of "general jurisdiction." We can represent you in your circuit court case.

New Hampshire Circuit Courts

The circuit court in the state of New Hampshire has three different divisions that handle various legal matters, such as:

  • District division: Handles misdemeanor criminal charges, traffic infractions and civil cases that involve negligence, breach of contract, and other situations involving private parties suing one another.
  • Family Court: This division handles divorce, custody and child support cases. They also handle adoptions and other family disputes.
  • Probate Division: Handles disposition of estates after someone's death, litigation of trusts, guardianships and similar issues are handled by this division.

District Court Cases

There are 32 different district courts in New Hampshire. The 7th Circuit District Court is located in Dover, while the remaining 31 are located in other local areas such as Concord, Brentwood, Portsmouth, Rochester, Newport and Salem, among others.

Your case will be heard in the district court where the event took place. For example, a traffic violation in Dover would be heard in the 7th Circuit.

Types of Circuit Court Cases

Some examples of the different types of cases we can handle in district courts include:

  • Civil Cases: When private parties sue each other, we represent both plaintiffs who are filing suits as well as the defendants who are being sued.
  • Landlord/Tenant Disputes: These cases are generally heard in district court. They may relate to a number of issues, from unlawful eviction to failure to return a security deposit or keep a rental in proper condition.
  • Criminal Cases: The ones heard in district court are usually state crime related; anything federally related would take place in federal court.
  • Motor Vehicle cases: These include traffic infractions and DUI cases which are seen as criminal in nature.
  • Domestic violence cases: Restraining or protective orders can be obtained through a district court.
  • Family: Adoption and divorce cases are handled here
  • Annulments: These cases involve dissolving a marriage through a much simpler process than divorce and are available under certain circumstances, such as adultery.
  • Stalking: This is another area of the district court that can issue a restraining order.

We at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin have handled all types of cases in circuit courts. Contact us to see how we can represent you.

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Superior Courts

These courts usually handle more serious cases, and preside over trials where there may be more at stake. If you are subject to charges handled by superior court, it is absolutely vital that you work with an experienced superior court attorney. As one of the oldest law firms in New Hampshire, Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A. has handled many superior court cases. Our skilled civil and criminal attorneys have what it takes to be your advocate.

In New Hampshire, there are 11 superior court sites, and 18 full-time judges presiding over them. These courts are located throughout the state. When a superior court has jurisdiction over a case, the case should be heard in the county where the bulk of the pertinent action occurred.

They handle a variety of cases, such as:

  • Civil cases where at least $2,500 is at stake: Civil cases are where one private party has taken legal action against another. They may include personal injury cases, property disputes, breach-of-contract cases, or others. Civil courts with a smaller amount of money involved are heard in district court, while superior courts handle ones where the "amount in controversy" is larger.
  • Felony criminal cases: Typically brought for more serious crimes such as burglary, theft and drug crimes.
  • Appeals from a district court: A question of law that arises from a district court case can be reviewed by New Hampshire's Superior Court to determine if the lower court acted appropriately.

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Federal Courts

According to the rules for separation of state and federal powers outlined in Article III of the United States Constitution, most matters are left to the states. However, the federal court does possess the power to hear a number of cases, such as:

  • Civil Cases: When there is a lot of money at stake and when the parties are from different states.
  • Cases where the constitution or other federal act gives rise to dispute
  • Tax and bankruptcy: Federal courts are the only courts that can preside over disputes or bankruptcies.
  • Criminal acts when the crime is illegal under federal law: For example, certain drug crimes, copyright violations and crimes across state lines fall under this category.

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Statewide Practice

If you have been accused of a crime, you will want a New Hampshire attorney with the most experience possible to represent you in your case. This applies in cases where you hope to have the charge dropped, be acquitted of the charges or make a plea bargain to try and minimize incarceration time. It is incredibly important to get legal help from lawyers who know the law in New Hampshire, and who can fight to protect your legal rights.

Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin has been doing just that for clients for generations. As the oldest, most established law firm in New Hampshire, we have been helping clients with multitudes of criminal and civil matters for over 100 years. This has earned us a reputation for being some of the best and brightest legal minds, including being recognized as "Super Lawyers" in the field of criminal defense.

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Reliable New Hampshire attorneys

Our law firm is located in Dover, New Hampshire, where our team of attorneys works on a wide range of cases, including ones involving civil, personal injury, criminal, real estate and employment law. And while our law firm is located in Dover, we represent clients statewide. We regularly handle cases in all 10 major counties in New Hampshire, including:

  • Belknap County
  • Carroll County
  • Cheshire County
  • Coos County
  • Grafton County
  • Hillsborough County
  • Merrimack County
  • Rockingham County
  • Stafford County
  • Sullivan County

Throughout the counties listed, we can represent clients in the following cities, and are not limited to these locations:

  • Concord
  • Derry
  • Dover
  • Keene
  • Laconia
  • Manchester
  • Nashua
  • Portsmouth
  • Rochester

No matter where you are in the state, our New Hampshire attorneys will be there to represent and advocate for you. We will be your voice within the criminal or civil court system when you need it the most. To learn more about the types of legal services we can provide, contact us to schedule your free consultation today. We represent New Hampshire. We represent you.

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